The best girls Mendocino getaway starts with a cozy accommodation on the coast
When I asked one of my best friends if she was interested in doing a Mendocino getaway, she couldn’t say yes fast enough. When I told her we would have the chance to stay at a cozy accommodation with an ocean view on the northern California coast, called the Brewery Gulch Inn, she was even more excited for our weekend to start.
Mendocino is only about a 3.5 hour drive from San Francisco, and it’s one of the few places that is still relatively unknown to many Californians and tourists. I’m sure most people, even those who grew up in California, wouldn’t be able to place it on a map.
Take me for instance, I’ve spent most of my life in California, grew up in Santa Cruz, yet I’d only been through Mendocino county once during a two month road trip up the California coast a few years ago.
Even though my friend and I are both native Californians, neither one of us had spent much time north of Petaluma. We knew this needed to change.
And, one of my goals whenever I come home these days is to discover more beautiful places around my home state, because there are always endless choices for weekend trips from the Bay Area.
So, our Mendocino getaway quickly came together with the plan to have the Brewery Gulch Inn as our base for the weekend.
We left Oakland late Friday afternoon and, after dealing with the usual Bay Area traffic on the 101, took the winding 128 highway through thick forests and wine regions until it grew dark.
We briefly stopped in Boonville, a tiny town in the southern part of Mendocino county, to grab some wine and stretch our legs.
By the time we made it to just south of downtown Mendocino, it was around 7:30pm and the warm Christmas lights to the entrance of the Brewery Gulch Inn welcomed us to get out of the cold.
This was our experience at one of the best Mendocino coast hotels.
The innkeepers who run Brewery Gulch are Guy, Sarah, and Ella.
The staff running the front desk were helpful and knowledgeable about the local area. They were always ready with recommendations for what to do during the day or where to eat at night, which I appreciated. During wine hour, they were happy to give personal wine recommendations depending on your mood.
I always appreciate an accommodation that much more when the staff goes over and beyond to make you feel welcome, and the Brewery Gulch Inn had a small but attentive group of staff that made my stay memorable.
THE GREAT ROOM
The great room is the main communal area of the inn and where many guests gather at night and in the morning for breakfast. I absolutely loved how cozy this room was.
It had a fire roasting in the center of the room, plenty of plush carpets and natural light coming from the French double doors and the three-story high skylight. Since it was December when we visited, a tall Christmas tree was decorated with lights and ornaments in the corner of the room.
This room is where their light dinner buffet & wine hour is every night and their made-to-order breakfast in the mornings. In the Great Room, they also have board games, a 500+ movie collection that you can browse by title on their iPad, and a small library of books.
The overstuffed furniture was meant to be lounged on for long periods of time, and the classic oak tables around the room only added to the overall cozy warmth that the room exuded. Although our room had its own draws, it was hard to leave the Great Room at times because it was such a relaxing place to stay for awhile.
When we walked into our room, the first thing that caught my eye was the personal fireplace with two plush leather chairs in front of it, and the deck that looked out over Smuggler’s Cove below (although we couldn’t see the cove until the next morning since it was dark when we got in).
As we explored our earth-toned, warm room, we also discovered sea salt caramels on the bed, various luxury bath products to use at our leisure in the bathroom, and wrapped up food on the table. One of the innkeepers had brought it up because we had just missed the light dinner buffet and wine hour that went from 5:30pm to 6:30pm.
The feather bed was just as comfy as it looked, with Sferra fine linens and a down comforter. I know I’ve already said the word cozy a bunch in this review, but I honestly can’t think of a better way to describe pretty much every aspect of this accommodation. And that includes the bed.
Lastly, I found a personalized note welcoming us to the inn and a bottle of chilled Tanglewood brut, aka really nice California champagne! When we opened the closet we found two fluffy white robes. It was everything we could’ve wanted to start off our girls weekend in style.
The amenities that stood out to me the most were the light dinner buffet and wine hour every night, and their extensive movie collection because I’m a huge movie buff. It was like being a kid in a candy store, so many choices! As one guest described it, “Your DVD collection is better than some peoples’ wine cellars.” I think that about sums it up.
And although they say ‘light’ dinner buffer, I thought it was more of a proper dinner. There were main dishes, plenty of meat and vegetarian options, soup, steamed veggies, and a good selection of wine to go with your food. All included with the price of your room.
Other amenities at the inn include access to a guest computer and printer, fast WiFi throughout the property, complimentary coffee, tea, pastries, and fruit offered throughout the day in the Great Room, high quality fruit infused water at reception, turndown service on request, and flat panel televisions with built-in DVD players and Direct TV in all rooms.
The breakfast was one of the most impressive features at the inn, with a made-to-order menu and fresh brewed Black Oak Coffee, a local Mendocino roaster, every morning.
The inn focuses on farm-to-table dishes and that comes through in their breakfast options. Most ingredients are organic and locally-sourced, including seasonal fruits and vegetables that are harvested from the inn’s heritage garden in the Anderson Valley.
And in addition to taking recycling seriously, coffee grounds and all organic kitchen matter are composted on a regular basis.
My favorite breakfast meal was one of their specials my first morning, a delicious prawn Eggs Benedict with a hollandaise sauce that was on point. Their homemade mango lassi with lime should not be missed either.
Located about 3.5 hours north of the Bay Area, and a few minutes drive south of downtown Mendocino, the Brewery Gulch Inn is an ideal location to explore more of the northern California coast.
I find that 3 or so hours is a perfect drive for a weekend getaway, where it still feels like you’re in a brand new place but you’re not in a car the whole time. A Mendocino getaway could be perfect if you’re looking for a new weekend trip from San Francisco or San Jose.
Mendocino county itself is steeped in pioneer and prohibition history, and on a beautiful part of the rugged California coastline.
The Brewery Gulch Inn is a short drive, not only from downtown Mendocino, but also the historic Fort Bragg (known for its Skunk Train experience), and numerous beaches and state parks, including Glass Beach and Russian Gulch.
The Brewery Gulch Inn advertises itself as a ‘romantic getaway’ on the California coast. I would agree with that statement, but I would also add that it would be the perfect getaway for a fun girls weekend (like we did), or an adult family getaway (i.e. think less small children and more grown adult children and parents/grandparents).
We actually saw a couple of families who were staying at the inn, in addition to quite a few couples, and I’d imagine it would be a nice place for a family reunion, especially since the inn offers connecting rooms.
One thing to note, is to make sure you have your own way of getting around, because it is a relatively remote part of the California coast.
My friend and I tried to call an Uber one night to see if we could check out the bars in downtown Mendocino. We only found one driver who was all the way in Fort Bragg and who couldn’t come get us.
It was actually hilarious at the time, but just be prepared to drive yourself everywhere or pay for an expensive taxi ride if you want to get into town.
Overall, if you’re looking for a cozy weekend getaway from the Bay, or you simply want to explore more of northern California but don’t know where to start, I’d recommend making the Brewery Gulch Inn and Mendocino as a whole your base.
If you’re interested in learning more about the hotel or booking a room while you’re in Mendocino county, click here.
Have you been to the Mendocino coast before? What’s your favorite weekend getaway from the Bay Area?
Note: Brewery Gulch Inn hosted me during my stay, but all opinions, as always, are my own.
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